ERBIL, Kurdistan Region (Kurdistan 24) - The Iranian Government on Wednesday shut down the Kurdistan 24 bureau in Tehran, two days after the Kurdistan Region's held its referendum on independence.
The Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance told the Tehran-based Kurdistan 24 bureau that they no longer have permission to work in Iran as a result of the referendum and "current developments" in the Kurdistan Region.
"We are very concerned about the closure of the Kurdistan 24 bureau in Tehran. While our correspondents were doing their job and professionally covering news in the country, they were very restricted by the Iranian government," the General Manager of Kurdistan 24, Noreldin Waisy, said.
"However, the closure of our bureau will not affect Kurdistan 24's coverage of Iran-related news, professionally and objectively," Waisy added.
The Kurdistan 24 Tehran desk was open in June 2016. Despite the severe restrictions by the Iranian Government, Kurdistan 24 emerged as the primary reliable source of information for many international news agencies in the aftermath of the Islamic State (IS)'s twin attacks in Tehran on June 7, 2017, thanks to its live broadcast of the event.
In a similar move this week, Turkey's state regulator of media on Monday decided to shut down the transmission of three Kurdistan Region-based news channels from the national satellite provider Turksat, including Kurdistan 24.
Ankara’s move to deny the news outlets an audience of some 20 million Kurds in Turkey came as the Kurdistan Region went ahead with its referendum on independence from Iraq, but the Turkish Government did not outright state its decision was linked to the vote which it strongly opposed.
A copy of the decision relayed by the Turkish Radio and Television Supreme Council (RTUK) to Kurdistan 24's Ankara bureau said the Kurdish TV's content was "a threat to the indivisibility of the country and public order."
"The channels in question broadcast against the Republic of Turkey," it read.
Kurdistan 24 has offices in Ankara, Istanbul, and the Kurdish cities of Van and Diyarbakir.
Editing by G.H. Renaud